List of competencies

A competency list usually comprises an overview of work-related competencies. The list of competencies below consists of 62 common (and commonly required) competencies in work and career.

Use this competency list to inspire and prepare you for a job interview or performance review, or take the free competency test straight away to see for yourself what competencies from this overview most appeal or strike you as being the ones that fit you best.

IntegrityTactical behaviourResponding sensitively
Communication skills (verbal)Communication skills (written)Group-oriented leadership
Customer-orientedActing innovativelyDelegating
Problem analysisPeople-driven managementIndependence
Results-oriented way of workingSociabilityListening
Situational awarenessAttention to detailUnderstanding of the environment
CooperationIndependent learningSelf-knowledge
EntrepreneurshipLeadershipAbility to learn
Responding flexiblyFinancial awarenessPersuasiveness
Stress resistanceShowing initiativeAssertiveness
DisciplineConceptual thinkingNegotiating
Organisational sensitivityConfrontingFlexibility
Creative thinkingPlanning and organisingMonitoring progress
Critical thinkingImpressionSelf-development
CoachingAnalytical skillsDecisiveness
AmbitionManaging conflict 


A competency list is frequently used by organisations to ascertain the competencies staff need to have. It goes without saying that this can vary from role to role or from role group to role group. A competency list is often used when hiring staff, though also when it comes to career development or growth within the organisation.

You can also work out for yourself what your competencies are, what you’re good at, what you’re naturally capable of doing well and which competencies you could do with working on or paying some attention to. This insight will come in handy for such things as applying for a job (to state what you’re good at) or an interview (to indicate what kind of training or education you’d like to follow, for instance).

Professional competency list

Many of the competencies from the overview of 62 competencies overlap or have a lot in common, such as (for example) the competencies determination, discipline and perseverance. As a result, you run the risk of organisations or employees always choosing the same type of overlapping competencies, creating a lopsided picture.

123test has developed a competency list featuring unique competencies that nevertheless provide a full picture. To this end, competencies known from scientific literature, government agencies and consultancy firms have been studied. The result is a set of 16 competencies. Each competency is stand-alone and has little or no overlap with the other competencies. Collectively they form the most frequently occurring professional competencies in the field of work and career.

 CompetencyMeaning of competencyExampleExample of profession in which this competency is important
1Being observantNoticing and acting on signals given by people, organisation and society.Is quick to notice if there is something up with another personRelationship therapist, Bodyguard, Trendwatcher
2Taking the initiativeActing on one’s own initiative; making the most of opportunities; undertaking something, even if it entails riskOften takes the initiativeEntrepreneur, Salesperson, Activity Leader
3AnalysingUnderstanding complex information; making connections; drawing conclusionsQuickly understands the crux of a difficult problemResearcher, Detective, System Designer
4DecidingWeighing things up and reaching a decisionManages to make the right decision in complex situationsJudge, Director, Interim Manager
5CreatingComing up with new ideas, approaches or solutionsOften comes up with new ideasAdvertising Executive, Industrial Designer, Interior Designer
6Planning and organisingScheduling activities and resources (human and non-human) in order to achieve an objectiveIs good at estimating what’s required to implement a planPlanner, Conference Organiser, Traffic Controller
7PersistingPersisting, even if there are setbacksGoes the distance, even in the face of adversityCyclist, Social Worker in an addiction clinic
8Responding flexiblyDoing something you’re not used to doing or you weren’t intending to do, as the situation requiresManages to adapt if circumstances changeHoliday Rep, Stand-up Comedian, A&E Doctor
9Performing under pressureBeing effective in situations of pressure, e.g. time pressure, risk, emotional strainStays in control of himself/herself in chaotic situationsPolice Officer, Fighter Pilot, Football Referee
10Verbal communicationUnderstanding others and being understood in verbal communicationHas a good sense of what the other person meansSolicitor, Interviewer, Psychotherapist
11Written communicationUnderstanding others and being understood in written communicationIs capable of communicating well in writing, even with people who are very differentJournalist, Editor, Literary Critic
12HelpingOffering time, effort and resources to achieve someone else’s/other people’s goalsHas a good understanding of what other people need and endeavours to offer thisSocial Worker, Personal Coach, Physiotherapist
13NetworkingBuilding, maintaining and making the most of a networkKnows a lot of peopleEstate Agent, Headhunter, Lobbyist
14MonitoringVerifying whether one’s own or someone else’s actions or products are satisfactoryRegularly checks whether work is on scheduleAccountant, Auditor, Inspector
15LeadingExerting influence and controlIs highly persuasiveManager, Trade Union Leader, Politician
16Autonomy and self-developmentExtracting lessons from experiences and steering one’s own development processWorks on own development purposivelyIncreasingly important in nigh on all roles and professions

You can test these 16 competencies with the professional competency test from 123test.